The Mississippi Court of Appeals will convene on the Mississippi Valley State University campus in Itta Bena on March 23.
A three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in an appeal starting at 10 a.m. in the Carver A. Randle Auditorium in the W.A. Butts Social Science Building.
The Court of Appeals Court on the Road program schedules oral arguments on college campuses and occasionally at other locations as a teaching tool to give students and the public opportunities to watch proceedings in cases on appeal. As a result, the Court on the Road offers a unique learning experience for students interested in law, government, journalism, and various other fields. In addition, the public may attend to understand appellate court proceedings better.
Court of Appeals Judge Latrice A. Westbrooks of Lexington, who coordinated the visit to MVSU, said, "The Court on the Road program offers the opportunity for transparency and education. It elevates the public's understanding of Mississippi's judicial system. It also encourages civic engagement and exposes the students to the Court non adversarially. There are no witnesses and no jury."
The Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the appeal of Gilbert S. Macvaugh III v. State of Mississippi, cause number 2021-CA-01317-COA.
Court records show that the Attorney General's Office retained Dr. Macvaugh, a psychologist, to conduct a forensic capital mitigation evaluation of Devin Allen Bennett in Bennett's post-conviction appeal of his capital murder conviction. However, in an order issued on May 14, 2018, the Rankin County Circuit Court granted the prosecution's motion to remove Macvaugh, cite him with contempt of Court, and appoint a different expert. Macvaugh appealed the contempt citation.
The appellant's brief filed on behalf of Macvaugh is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=web0001..2021-CA-1317.71610.0.pdf&c=94377&a=N&s=2.
The appellee's brief filed by the Mississippi Attorney General's Office is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/appellatecourts/docket/sendPDF.php?f=web0001..2021-CA-1317.76854.0.pdf&c=94377&a=N&s=2.
Attorneys for both sides will have 30 minutes to make their arguments and answer questions from the judges. Judges will talk with students after oral arguments and answer their questions, although they won't discuss the pending case.
People wishing to watch oral arguments are asked to be seated 15 minutes before the proceeding begins.
News media members, including student journalists, who may wish to photograph or videotape the arguments must file a Camera Coverage Notice. Camera Coverage Notices should be directed to Clerk of the Court Jeremy Whitmire, e-mail email@example.com, fax 601-359-2407; and to Assistant Court Administrator Camille Evans, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 601-576-4708. The Camera Coverage Notice form is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/news/forms/camnotice.pdf.
Media photographers and videographers must be familiar with and follow the Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings. The camera coverage rules are at https://courts.ms.gov/research/rules/msrulesofcourt/rules_electronicphotographic_coverage.pdf.
The oral arguments will not be broadcast via the Mississippi Judiciary website since the Court of Appeals convenes in a special session away from its camera-equipped courtroom.